Information paper

Thunderstorm Asthma

Please check the Australian Asthma Handbook for the latest recommendations on thunderstorm asthma. 

Certain types of thunderstorms in spring or early summer in regions with high grass pollen concentrations in the air can cause life-threatening allergic asthma flare-ups in sensitised individuals, even if they have not had asthma before. Epidemic thunderstorm asthma can occur when such a storm travels across a region and triggers asthma in many susceptible individuals at once.

This information paper provides evidence-based guidance on identifying and managing patients at risk of thunderstorm asthma for GPs, asthma educators, practice nurses and pharmacists.


The National Asthma Council Australia developed the information paper independently with support from the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services.

The Thunderstorm Asthma information paper was prepared in consultation with the following health professionals:

  • Professor Amanda Barnard, general practitioner
  • Dr Danny Csutoros, general practitioner
  • Professor Nick Freezer, paediatric respiratory physician
  • Dr Jenny Gowan, pharmacist
  • Associate Professor Mark Hew, allergy and respiratory physician
  • Dr Joel Ten, general practitioner
  • Ms Judi Wicking, asthma and respiratory educator

Recommended citation

National Asthma Council Australia. Epidemic thunderstorm asthma. National Asthma Council Australia, Melbourne, 2017.


Printed copies of our resources including this information paper can be ordered by clicking our online order system.

Correction (26 Sept 2017) 

Please note: the online version of this resource has been updated.


Although all care has been taken, this information paper is only a general guide; it is not a substitute for assessment of appropriate courses of treatment on a case-by-case basis. The National Asthma Council Australia expressly disclaims all responsibility (including negligence) for any loss, damage or personal injury resulting from reliance on the information contained.

 © 2017

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